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Why Jordan Mailata’s contract extension with the Eagles impacts Penei Sewell and the Lions

Everyone knows that the Lions and All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell will reach a contract extension in due time. It doesn’t have to happen this offseason, though it could; Sewell is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, and the Lions can still exercise the fifth-year option on their prized right tackle if they so choose.

When the two sides do sit down to hammer out a new deal, one of the ways the value gets set is by comparable contracts. It’s akin to the housing market, basing value off similar homes that have recently sold. One of the deals that will certainly get used as a comp just happened on Thursday with the Philadelphia Eagles and left tackle Jordan Mailata.

The Eagles and Mailata agreed to a three-year, $66 million contract extension, with $48 million guaranteed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. It is loaded up with a $20 million signing bonus.

The $22 million per year average vaults Mailata into the top five highest-paid offensive linemen. Mailata is certainly a deserving talent, no doubt about it. However, he’s already 27 years old and has never made a Pro Bowl, let alone an All-Pro team, in his four NFL seasons.

Sewell is still just 23 years old and has already earned first-team All-Pro and two Pro Bowl berths in his three seasons in Detroit. He can rightly claim that he deserves more than Mailata in any extension talks. The $22 million per season with 72 percent fully guaranteed figures to be well below the new base floor for any Sewell extension.

It’s the percentage that is guaranteed that is more significant for Sewell and the Lions. At 72 percent, that blows away the 57 percent that Giants LT Andrew Thomas got on his $117.5 million deal he signed in 2023. That’s the current top contract for tackles in total value. Mailata’s deal more closely resembles what Laremy Tunsil signed with the Texans in 2023:

3 years, $75 million, $60 million guaranteed (80 percent)

What makes Mailata’s deal important for Sewell is the precedent of the larger percentage of guaranteed money. Other recent high-end offensive tackle drills have not had anything close to that level of guaranteed value. Jack Conklin got just 21 percent of his $60 million deal in 2022, while Jake Matthews received 48 percent guaranteed on his three-year, $55 million deal that same year. The Chiefs guaranteed half of Jawaan Taylor’s four-year, $80 million contract last offseason. None of those players are at Sewell’s level.

It would be difficult for the Lions to approach Sewell with anything less than 75 percent fully guaranteed on whatever the final value of the deal might be. The higher the guaranteed value, the larger the cap hit will be–even if the Lions do their customary void year additions to the actual deal.

 

 

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire